Harley-Davidson Management Facing Tough Questions

harley-davidson1Last Saturday was Harley-Davidson shareholders meeting.  Not surprisingly, both shareholders and employees asked tough questions regarding job cuts and outsourcing. President & CEO Jim Ziemer, who retires in a few days  stated again that Harley expects 2009 to be an extremely challenging year the company will continue to reduce excess production capacity to be in good position when the recession ends.  and .  as consumers pull back on motorcycle purchases because of the recession. Harley plans to close its Capitol Drive plant in Wauwatosa in 2010. It is also closing its Franklin Distribution Center this year, outsourcing that work. In January, Harley said it was cutting 1,100 factory and office jobs in 2009 and 2010,

This month, the company said it planned to eliminate 400 more blue-collar jobs as it scales back production. Harley announced that a deeper analysis of production requirements showed that more job cuts are necessary. Some shareholders questioned the job cuts and whether Harley’s management was sharing in the cost-cutting pain and criticized Harley for getting more parts, accessories and clothing from overseas. Jim Ziemer replied that sometimes outsourcing work is necessary to keep the company viable

12 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Management Facing Tough Questions”

  1. 1 Triumph Apr 27th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    I think what Ziemer meant to say, instead of ‘viable’, was ridiculously profitable.

  2. 2 Bobberiz Apr 28th, 2009 at 6:12 am

    Harley has been outsourcing for years and it is ludicrously profitable for them. They are kicking their AMERICAN Workers right in the balls. The workers are the ones that built that company not all the high priced BLOW BOYS like the new ceo. They SUCK and the Harley Brand name is destined to disappear as soon as they wring all the money they can out of it for executive bonuses.

  3. 3 Rebel Highway Apr 28th, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Harley has lost the vision that brought them back in the 80’s, the blue collar folks stood by the brand before it was fashionable to own a Harley and now they are the first sector of their workers that Harley shits on.

  4. 4 Woody's Apr 28th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    as stated above, +1
    I hate even driving by the nice Pigrim Road facility. H-D flags flying over a really sharp complex……….which used to be Briggs & Stratton’s before they relocated virtually the whole business to Mexico. Maybe GM can move in next?

  5. 5 rock star Apr 28th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Ahmed Khalili builds all dark customs

  6. 6 Gerry Apr 28th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Rock star that was hilarious…..

  7. 7 Jeff Nicklus Apr 28th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    rock star,

    Very good!

    Over & Out,


  8. 8 Brett Apr 28th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Breed at it’s finest, but they are just following suit like all the American companies.

    I just laughed when they opened a plant just for Sportsters. That is when I knew the whole bike thing had gone too far.

    Their biggest mistake was getting rid of the order lists from the 90’s, when you had to get on a list & wait 3 or 4 years to get a bike. It made them a valuable piece of property & also made the bikes keep their value.

    Now everyone who wants a bike has one & sales keep falling & Harley has no clue how to get out of it.

    Here’s an idea, maybe put an actual BIKER in charge instead of all these clowns who went to GMU to learn how to run a business.

  9. 9 Brett Apr 28th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    ooppps, meant to say Greed at it’s finest

  10. 10 TAC Apr 28th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    FTF…….They forget the people who made the company what it is today. The not so great Motor Company needs a shake up to bring them back to reality.

  11. 11 Grayhawk Apr 29th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Hey Brett not necessarily taking up for Harley but have you ever heard of a business plan, Plant opened for Sporty, design/space forecasted/allocated for V-Rod and Dyna, not to mention cheaper dirt/real estate and different labor contracting ?, plus closer to major markets in respect to distribution.

    As I have said before never liked how they postured in regards to overproduction, calling something a collectible and making 40,000 of the item, duh.

    Acting like a car company with hiring of some management from same philosphy in the last changing of the guard thus new bike production quantities till you flood the market.

    But I do not begrudge any business making a buck and putting aside for the future. Their numbers are public look at the margin if you ran a mutiple billion dollar business what would your net be.

    Hell H-D even publiced MSRP and freight costs in their public handout. Big city dealers did the jacking when production could not meet demand. Some good dealers some bad just like in the Aftermarket and Custom.

    Not many of us gave our used bikes away at cheap prices either when you could not get a new one and used were at a premium, so greed is greed your point there is right just not solataire.

    Just think they need to stay in business, remember the little guy, plan for the youth future buyers. HD has contributed to our industry and sport. Knock them around but look at the big picture and nail them on real issues.

    Hope HDFS subprime woes and the pay back of the 600 milion at 15% doesn’t bring them down other than that the downsizing and consolidation steps they are taking should be attainable to assure they ride out the storm. Hope all these new managerial changes do lessons learned as they take over the hiarchy reins at the company.

    Independent shops do somewhere around 50% plus or minus of the service work on their bikes as the dealers do not have capacity or for other reasons, etc. but bottom line it helps the bottom line of the Independent shops in most cases.


  12. 12 Bigwoody May 5th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Visiting a “Super” Harley Dealealer is quite an experience. My Softail is now more American than when Harley Produced it. No cheap Keoran aftermarket parts either. The chrome lasts six months, substandard quality.

    Feel proud to receive a bow that says Made in USA.

    Save enough on American made Jeans and jackets,gloves, dont need the Harley logo.

    Retired autoworker who would love to crush a Prius or Kia in My Dodge Ram. Be careful some Rams are made in Mexico. Still sold at American prices.

    Swearing my pension and health care. Would rather stay home than ride in a foreign car or truck.

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Cyril Huze